‘You’re growing scabs over wounds’: USF heading to UTSA in search of bowl berth

The Bulls are preparing for its first matchup against the Roadrunners in program history. ORACLE PHOTO/ARIANNA RENICK

Two games. One win. 

Those are the numbers that matter for the USF football team at this point in the season, as the program aims to clinch a bowl berth against UTSA this Friday. 

Record-wise, no team has exceeded the odds more than the Bulls (5-5, 3-3 AAC). The team’s four-win improvement from last season is tied with Northwestern for the best in the nation. 

As Bulls coach Alex Golesh enters the final weeks of his first season, he’s noticing patterns in the team’s performances. He said that with inconsistency comes nuance.  

“Where are we right now? Inconsistent in a lot of ways,” he said at a Tuesday press conference. “I still feel like we’re really immature as a team, but I think we’ve taken monumental steps and grown so much.” 

The Bulls are still working to heal from the remnants of the past.

“You’re growing scabs over wounds, truly growing that program from the inside out,” Golesh said. 

UTSA’s (7-3, 6-0 AAC) ascension into the national spotlight mirrors Golesh’s own vision. 

The Roadrunners’ previous two seasons have been the most successful in program history. They’ve won two consecutive Conference USA championships before being added as a member of the American this July.  

There’s plenty of similarities between the Bulls and the Roadrunners, with the latter being in the fourth year of coach Jeff Traylor’s tenure. 

UTSA was a fledgling, struggling program when Traylor arrived in 2020. The team was in its eighth season in program history.

Since then, it has seen multiple appearances in the AP poll and the emergence of one of the most dominant quarterbacks in the FBS – senior Frank Harris. 

The Roadrunners were ranked No. 15 in 2021 and No. 22 the following season. 

“You look at programs that are in year four and five and you see maturity, you see growth,” Golesh said. “Especially with the quarterback, all of it comes together.”

Harris is one of the most accomplished passers in the nation. He has the ninth-most passing yards of any active FBS quarterback, and was named the C-USA MVP last season. 

As USF prepares for its first primetime game of the season, the Bulls anticipate plenty of eyes around the country to be keyed in on them.

Golesh said he hopes a Friday night matchup against one of the top teams in the conference will be the spark the Bulls need in order to snag its sixth win. 

“If you want to be at the top of the conference, this is what it looks like,” Golesh said. “If you can strap up and go for that, I don’t know what other motivation you could possibly need.” 

USF will face off against UTSA on Friday at 9 p.m at the Alamodome. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and BullsUnlimited.